NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

         === Earnhardt Jr. voted most popular driver for 10th time ===
 Las  Vegas,  NV (Sports Network)  - Dale Earnhardt Jr.  is once again a winner
 with the NASCAR fans.
 As  expected,  Earnhardt Jr. won NASCAR's  Most Popular Driver Award for 2012.
 Earnhardt  Jr.  received  the  award,  which  is  presented  by  the  National
 Motorsports  Press  Association, during  the annual post-season Myers Brothers
 Luncheon on Thursday in Las Vegas.
 It's  the  10th consecutive  year that  Earnhardt Jr. has  been named the most
 popular  driver  in NASCAR's premier series.  It tied him with Bill Elliott as
 the  only drivers  who have won the  award 10 years in a row. Elliott received
 the honor a record 16 times overall.
 "It  was  an honor  to hear  that I  won this year  and am  now tied with Bill
 (Elliott)  for 10  in a  row," Earnhardt  Jr. said.  "I've enjoyed  this award
 because  it's  a  testament  to  my  fans.  I  appreciate  their  loyalty  and
 dedication. It was great to get back in victory lane this year for my team and
 for  my  fans. I'm  looking forward  to a successful  2013, and  I am proud to
 accept this award on behalf of all the fans that voted."
 Earnhardt  Jr., 38,  finished  12th in  this year's  Sprint  Cup Series  point
 standings. In June, Earnhardt Jr. ended his four-year, 143-race winless streak
 at Michigan. He also led in points for the first time since Sept. 2004.
 Earnhardt  Jr.  made the Chase for  the Sprint Cup championship for the second
 straight  year, but  the Hendrick Motorsports driver was forced to sit out the
 Chase  races  in Charlotte and Kansas  after being diagnosed with a concussion
 days after he was involved in a multi-car wreck on the final lap of the Oct. 7
 race  at Talladega.  He  also  sustained a  concussion  during  a crash  while
 participating in the Aug. 29 Goodyear tire test at Kansas.
 More  than 934,000 fan  votes for the most popular driver award were cast this
 season.  After  fans voted from February  to September, the top-10 drivers who
 earned the most votes were reset to zero.
 Jeff  Gordon finished  second in  the voting,  followed by  Kasey Kahne,  Tony
 Stewart  and Jimmie  Johnson. Kevin  Harvick, Kyle  Busch, Carl  Edwards, Matt
 Kenseth and Bobby Labonte completed the top-10.
 NASCAR  is  in  Las  Vegas  for  its  "Championship  Week"  celebration.  Brad
 Keselowski  will be honored as this year's Sprint Cup champion during Friday's
 season-ending awards banquet.
 11/29 17:30:10 ET

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